Let's Fall for Caramel 3

Caramel is one of my favorite fall flavors. I love it mixed in hot cider or dripping down the sides of a ripe apple, or just a plain square of it can brighten up any day. One of my favorite flavor combinations though is when popcorn meets caramel. This salty, sweet relationship is enough to make anyone fall in love.

The Popcorn Board relishes in my love for caramel popcorn and has provided three recipes featuring this match-made-in-heaven combination that are as easy as they are delicious! Which one will you make this month?

Easy Oven Caramel Corn

Yield: 5 quarts

Ingredients 

  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional nuts – choose one:

  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking pan (17x 12-inch) with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Spray a large mixing bowl (not plastic) lightly with cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
  3. Spread optional nuts over popcorn, if desired.
  4. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  6. Lower heat and boil 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Quickly stir in vanilla and baking soda.
  8. Quickly pour hot mixture over popcorn; stir well to coat.
  9. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  10. Cool completely in pan; store in an airtight container.

Caramel Corn Crunch

Yield: 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 quarts popped popcorn

Directions

  1. Cream butter; add brown sugar and whip until fluffy. In a large baking pan, combine popcorn.
  2. Mix in creamed mixture.
  3. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 8 minutes or until crisp.
  4. Serve warm if desired.

Popcorn Caramel Apples

Yield: 4 apples

Ingredients

  • 1 quart freshly popped popcorn
  • 1 (9.5 oz) package caramels, unwrapped (35 caramels)
  • 1/4 cup light cream or “half and half’
  • 4 lollipop sticks (or wooden candy apple sticks)
  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Sugar sprinkles
  • Decorative ribbon, optional

Directions

  1. Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.  Place a sheet of waxed paper on work surface.
  2. Heat caramels and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently until caramels are melted and cream is blended into caramels.
    Push a stick into an apple center and dip into caramel.  Spoon caramel over apple to coat.
  3. Place caramel-coated apple into bowl of popcorn and press popcorn onto caramel to cover.  Place apple on waxed paper to set; repeat with remaining apples.
  4. Place chocolate chips in a small, resealable plastic bag.  Microwave 10 seconds and press chips to aid melting.  Repeat, heating at 10-second intervals, until chips are completely melted.  Cut a small corner off bag and squeeze chocolate onto each apple allowing chocolate to drip down sides.  Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
  5. Tie a bow to each apple stick, if desired.  To serve, cut apple into slices.